As you read this, I am boarding a plane to fly thousands of miles away from where my trusty orange bike has been wiped clean, dismembered into its various parts, and packed safely into a shipping container.
In these moments, I find myself reflecting on freedom, priorities, and what it is we really need to feel secure.
Because, at one time or another, we've all found ourselves in the situation...
Where we've committed to something, and then smack dab in the middle of it, something ELSE comes up.
At times, the something else can be tragic, devastating, and completely outside our control.
At other times, it takes the form of opportunity, invitation, celebration.
But regardless of HOW it shows up...
These moments -- these crossroads -- tend to make us consider what's important, and the true extent of our agency in life.
Fortunately in my case, it's the latter kind: my mother's 60th birthday, and an extended-family reunion in Greece.
And while it wasn't an easy decision to skip essentially the rest of Central America, just as it's getting started (not to mention leaving Bruce to cycle the next 1,700 kilometers, through a country that is in a state of political upheaval, alone)...
One gift of being awake and alive is that we all get to decide, in every moment, what's true for usnow -- and how that truth will dictate our actions.
A younger Jessica would have been too stubborn, would have had too much to prove, to consider this departure from what she originally set out to do.
A younger Jessica would have cited things like trip integrity, global warming, not "abandoning" Bruce, and sheer expense among the many reasons to say no.
And then -- so predictably it is to laugh! -- this small, stubborn Jessica would later be dwarfed by a tidal wave of loneliness and regret, the moment it became too late to say YES.
Too often, we allow ourselves to be hemmed in by the choices of our past selves, and then misinterpret this surrender to inertia as a lack of agency.
We tell ourselves we are obligated to "stick it out," because we "said we would," or because to change now "makes no sense" or because "... what would people THINK?"
But you know what's AMAZING about being human?
That each of us is constantly evolving, according to our changing experience, perception, and reality.
This is what gives us permission to be malleable in how we conduct the story of our lives -- where to inject pauses, pivots, and refrains.
And if you are worried about those people who would JUDGE you for doing something unexpected?
The truth is, with rare exception?
No one actually cares what you do!
Or whether or not it "makes sense"!
Everyone is too busy worrying about what THEY'RE doing, and whether or not THAT makes sense.
And I should know -- I've listened to top CEO's of hugely successful companies confess that deep down...
They're afraid to look deeply at what they're building with their lives and careers, for fear that it might all fall apart under scrutiny.
... and then who would they be?
Sometimes, scrutiny is helpful and necessary, and nothing else will do in pursuit of contribution and a life well-lived.
But sometimes, what we actually need is to listen to our guts, and trust that if it FEELS in alignment... it probably is.
What pauses, pivots or refrains are calling to you?